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being charged as a felon or a traitor.* Heylyn, the high-church historian, mourns over this statute as one by which “all men were now set at liberty to read the Scriptures, and expound them as they pleased, and entertain what opinion in religion best agreed with their fancies, and promulgate these opinions which they entertained.” The common law for burning heretics, nevertheless, still remained, and was used with deadly effect in two instances, hereafter to be noticed. But what constituted heresy was quite changed. The most important enacting clause of this repealing statute reads thus: “ Be it enacted, that all acts of parliament in any wise concerning religion or opinions, that is to say, as well the statute made in the first year of the reign of * * * Richard II., and the statute made in the second year of the reign of King Henry V., and the statute also made in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry VIII., concerning punishment and reformation of heretics and Lollards, and every provision therein contained, and the statute made for the abolishment of diversity of opinions in certain articles concerning Christian religion, commonly called the Six Articles, * * * and also the act of parliament and statute made * * * in the thirty-fourth year of the reign of the said King Henry VIII. touch
* Statules of the Realm, 1 Edw. VI. ch. 11. See ante, p. 83, note.
† Parl. Hist., III. 231.
ing, mentioning, and in any wise concerning books of the Old and New Testament in English, and the printing, uttering, selling, giving, or delivering of books or writings, or retaining English books or writings, and reading, teaching, or expounding of Scripture, or in any wise * * * concerning any of the same matters, and also one other statute of the late King Henry VIII., concerning the qualifications of the statute of the Six Articles, and all and every other act or acts of parliament, concerning doctrine and matters of religion, and all and every branch, article, sentence, and matter, pains and forfeitures, contained, mentioned, or in any wise declared in any the same acts of parliament and statutes, shall from henceforth be repealed and utterly void and of none effect." *
This same statute repealed the act of parliament which made the king's proclamation of equal authority with an act of parliament. †
Another act, illustrative of the views of the Reformers on the question of the divine right of bishops, was passed by this parliament, on the 20th of December. This act sets forth, " That the way of choosing bishops by congé d'élire [leave to elect, obtained from the king) was tedious and expenseful; that there was only a shadow of election in it; that, therefore, bishops should thereafter be made by the king's letters patents, upon which they were to be consecrated; and whereas the bishops did exercise their authority, and carry on processes in their own names, as they were wont to do in the time of popery; and since all jurisdiction, both spiritual and temporal, was derived from the king, that, therefore, their courts and all processes should be from henceforth carried on in the king's name, and be sealed by the king's seal, as it was in the other courts of the common law, after the first of July next; excepting only the archbishop of Canterbury's courts, and all collations, presentations, or letters of order, which were to pass under the bishop's proper seal, as formerly." *
* Statutes, 1 Edw. VI. ch. 12.
f Ib. sect. 4.
Another act of considerable interest and importance was passed by this first parliament of Edward VI. It gave to the king all the lands, rents, and revenues of such colleges, chantries, free chapels, fraternities, guilds, etc., which had not been in the actual possession of the late king, Henry VIII.; and also, all the revenues belonging to any church for anniversaries, obits, and lights; and directed, that these funds should be appropriated to the maintenance of grammar schools, or preaching, and for the increase of vicarages. Cranmer opposed this bill; for he foresaw, that, whatever pretence might be made of appropriating these revenues to the support of schools and the clergy, they would, in all probability, be squandered among the courtiers and their greedy retainers. He was anxious to preserve these appropriations intact until the king came of age; believing he could then persuade him to devote them to the improvement of the condition of the poor clergy, who, Burnet says, were now brought into extreme misery. The popish bishops also opposed this act; but for quite a different reason. Nevertheless it passed, after some delay, and furnished, as Cranmer feared, rich plunder for the unscrupulous courtiers and others.*
* Statutes, 1 Edw. VI. ch. 2; Burnet, vol. II. pt. 1. bk. I. p. 88.
The doings of the council, and the acts of Edward's first parliament, rather increased than diminished the difficulties with which the new government had to contend. The popish bishops and clergy, with the ignorant and superstitious people, and all who loved the old order of things, not only opposed these changes, and made a hue and cry against all reformation beyond the point to which Henry VIII. had brought the church at the time of his death, but strove earnestly to bring back even the old rites and ceremonies which Henry had abolished. On the other hand, there were preachers and laymen, " lovers of the gospel and laborers after a reformation of the old superstitions," as Strype calls them, who were equally anxious to drive on the work of reform far beyond what the law then allowed. These not only preached and argued against the old rites and ceremonies, but actually laid them aside, and introduced into the parish churches new ones, which were deemed more conformable to the simplicity and purity of the gospel, and more nearly in accordance with the practice of the foreign reformed churches. These proceedings were offensive to the government, and called forth a proclamation, dated February 6th, 1547-48, against " those who do innovate, alter, or leave down (or undone] any rite or ceremonie in the church, of their own private authority; and against them which do preach without license"; except bishops in their own dioceses, and parsons, vicars, etc., in their own cures. And on the 8th of March of the same year, another prohibition, of like character, appeared in a royal proclamation, accompanied with the intimation that the king might “ be encouraged, from time to time, further to travel for the reformation," if the ardent innovators could be persuaded to "stay and quiet them
* Hist. Ref., ut sup. p. 93; Parl. Hist., 111. 225–29; Statutes, 1 Edw. VI. ch. 14. Jacob's Law Dictionary gives the following explanation of the terms employed in this act: A chantry was a little church, chapel, or particular altar in some cathedral church, etc., endowed with lands or other revenues, for maintenance of one or more priests, daily to sing mass and perform divine service, for the use of the founders and such others as they appointed. Free chapels were independent of any church, and endowed for much the same purpose as the former. The obit was the anniversary of any person's death; and to observe such day with prayers, alms, and other oblations, was called keeping the obit. Anniversaries were the yearly returns of the day of the death of persons, which the religious registered in their obitual or martyrology, and annually observed in gratitude to the founders or benefactors. Guild signifies a fraternity or company, from the Saxon, guildan, to pay; because every one was to pay something towards the charge and support of the company. -- Parl. Hist., 111. 225, note.